Cybersecurity During Coronavirus: The Threats of Remote Operations

Pandemic Shines Light on the Continuous Need for Cyber Protection

An influx of cyberattacks related to COVID-19 illustrates the importance of routine loss prevention and mitigation.

By Xing Xin
Chief Operations Officer, Paladin Cyber

and Paul Miskovich
Argo Group Head of Cyber

Having employees work from home is a sudden shift for many industries. Businesses may be able to maintain operations without interruption during this transition, but it can leave them vulnerable to unexpected risks. Now, an influx of cyberattacks and data and privacy concerns raises the need for cybersecurity during coronavirus, especially for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

Remote staff and new tools create business risk

Now that employees are working remotely using home internet connections, they lose the built-in protections that were previously afforded – namely, an enterprise network and IT staff that can safeguard against malicious websites and fraudulent emails.

Cybercriminals are executing attacks that take advantage of human emotion by preying upon the uncertainty that pervades the pandemic. Through social engineering, they create online articles pertaining to the coronavirus that contain intentionally misleading information. These articles use fear to manipulate isolated remote employees who no longer have the opportunity to quickly turn to ask a colleague about the information’s legitimacy.

Abundant use of third-party communications technology may also be leaving private business data exposed. A large remote workforce creates unprecedented opportunity for hackers to target unsecured networks and undermine business continuity efforts. The increased chance for human error exposes businesses to potential security risks.

Argo and Paladin offer expanded coverage and access to solutions

Businesses reliant on access to data and third-party systems are particularly susceptible to ransomware attempts. While most industries are impacted by COVID-19–related cyberattacks, SMEs facing a high cost of closure are at elevated risk of financial loss. In addition, they face unique challenges that may be compounded:

  • Smaller organizations typically can’t afford the IT security required to provide endpoint protection and control over their employees.
  • They must quickly retrofit an operations model to maintain continuity if an attack were to occur, and there’s increased exposure in that as well.

To address these challenges, Cyber Sphere’s broader coverage guarantees business continuity for SMEs by focusing on ransomware and social engineering. With cybersecurity during coronavirus in mind, expanded coverage now includes personal devices and home networks.

Argo Group recognizes its own network of SMEs whose critical business cannot risk interruption: the independent agents and brokers who sell Argo Cyber Sphere policies across the U.S. Argo Group is pleased to join with our strategic partner, Paladin Cyber, to help these brokers mitigate their own risk and loss during the pandemic with a free one-year enrollment in Paladin Shield. The platform features critical inbox and network protections typically found on enterprise networks and is easy to install and use. It also includes a training platform with automated phishing testing, which is a critical element of effective enterprise cybersecurity.

Cyber risks are a persistent part of business culture

When the pandemic ends and businesses resume normal operations, COVID-19–related threats will dissipate but cyber risks will not. Today’s modified working conditions highlight the vulnerabilities that threaten businesses daily. As always, the risks will evolve and adapt to different circumstances that can be exploited and businesses must be equipped to respond when they arise. 

Learn more about Cyber Sphere, an innovative product that combines Argo Cyber coverage with Paladin’s suite of loss-control software.